DUFF & PHELPS: NEW JERSEY BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY $400 MILLION DEBT SECURITIES (SHELF) RATED 'AAA'
CHICAGO, July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co. has assigned a rating of "AAA" (Triple-A) to New Jersey Bell Telephone Company's (NJB) shelf registration for $400 million of senior debt securities. Proceeds will be used to refinance high cost debt. New Jersey Bell exhibits superior financial strength as measured by its excellent pretax coverage of interest expense, virtually complete funding of construction spending from internal sources, and its conservative debt ratio relative to other local exchange telecommunications companies. Pretax interest coverage has improved to over 6.0 times as a result of successful cost controls and lower interest expense. Assuming an estimated dividend payout of 80 percent to 90 percent, future capital expenditures should be entirely funded with internal cash flow. However, in conjunction with two cable TV companies, NJB has announced plans to build a high capacity network in several communities capable of providing both telephone and video services. If NJB were to commit to more of these ventures, capital expenditures might exceed current expectations. The regulatory environment in New Jersey is favorable. A 1992 New Jersey Board of Regulatory Commissioners (BRC) decision called for freezing basic residential rates through 1999, but continues the policy of providing more pricing and earnings flexibility for discretionary and monopoly services other than basic local service. Competitive services are fully deregulated. The BRC also endorsed NJB's plans to invest $1.5 billion to rewire the state with fiber optic cable by 2010. NJB's network is currently among the most advanced and efficient networks in the nation. New Jersey Bell provides local telecommunications services to over five million access lines in New Jersey, accounting for 97 percent of the state's total lines. Local services generate 34 percent of revenues, network access services 26 percent, toll services 23 percent, and directory and other services 17 percent. NJB is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE: BEL). -0- 7/30/93 /CONTACT: James J. Stork, CFA of Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co., 312-368-3125/ (BEL)
CO: New Jersey Bell Telephone Company ST: New Jersey IN: TLS SU: RTG
TM-MG -- NY060 -- 7900 07/30/93 16:11 EDT
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|Date:||Jul 30, 1993|
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